the tort of defamation
Download
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
dfssdf

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 110

dfssdf - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 475 Views
  • Uploaded on

ffsadfafsfsd fas asdf

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'dfssdf' - guest1672


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
the tort of defamation

The tort of Defamation

Libel and Slander

Chapter 4-5-6

definition of civil libel

Definition of civil libel

Written or printed expression

that tends to damage a person’s standing in the community through words that attack an individual’s character and professional abilities

tort of defamation
Tort of Defamation
  • Libel-published or broadcast defamation
  • Slander-spoken defamation
kinds of libel
Kinds of Libel
  • Civil
  • Criminal
kinds of libel5
Kinds of Libel
  • Civil: lawsuits for harming reputation
  • Criminal: laws for criticizing government in times of war (rare these days)
elements of libel
Elements of Libel
  • Defamation
  • Identification
  • Publication
  • Falsity/fault
civil libel slander cases involve
Civil Libel & Slander cases involve:
  • Judge
  • Plaintiff
  • Defendant
  • Jury
can the government sue for libel

Can the government sue for Libel?

No!

Chicago v. Tribune Co.

1923

can the government sue for libel9

Can the government sue for Libel?

But, individual members of government can but they have a hard time winning!

who can be libeled
Who can be libeled?
  • Person? Yes
  • Charity? Yes
  • The Government? No
  • Corporation? Yes
  • Club or group? Yes
definition of criminal libel

Definition of criminal libel

An inflammatory or seditious statement about the government or a government official which might incite rebellion.

criminal libel

Criminal libel

a.k.a. Seditious Libel

criminal libel13
Criminal Libel
  • Judge
  • State
  • Defendant
  • Jury
civil libel plaintiff s burden of proof
Civil libel:Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof
  • Publication
  • Identification
  • Defamation
  • Falsity
  • Fault
publication means material was sent in any of the following
Publication means material was sent in any of the following :
  • The Print Media
  • Broadcast Media
  • Internet
  • Newsletters
publication presumes
“Publication” presumes:
  • that a “third party” heard/saw/read the defamatory material
identification
Identification:
  • Mistaken Identity is often cause of libel suits against mass media outlets
identification18
Identification:
  • Person does not have to be identified by “name”...it could be a picture, or they could be identified by a widely known nickname
group identification
Group Identification:
  • No magic number exists to protect media from claim of “identification” when defaming entire groups of people…but
group identification20
Group Identification:
  • The larger the group the harder it is for them to win a libel suit
group identification21
Group Identification:
  • So, be especially careful with small groups because it is easier to prove “identification”
falsity
Falsity:
  • “Small errors are usually not actionable” unless…
falsity23
Falsity:
  • they directly relate to the loss of reputation (defamation).
these can be libelous
These can be libelous:
  • Newspapers
  • Broadcasting
  • Photographs
  • Cartoons
  • Paintings
these can also be libelous
These can also be libelous:
  • Sculpture
  • Graffiti
  • Effigies
  • Advertising
  • Billboards
examples of defamatory comment
Crime: reporting that someone is a murderer when they have only been charged with the crime.

Occupation: “Dr. Jones is a quack.”

Examples of Defamatory Comment
defamatory comment
Business: “Jones Auto Mart is a rip-off.”

Trade libel: “Tobacco companies are murderers.”

Defamatory Comment
curtis publishing co v butts
Found that circumstances of reporting including the time element involved in checking facts are important in determining reckless disregardCurtis Publishing Co. v. Butts:
associated press v walker 1967
The court said an honest mistake made in a “hot news situation” involving a public figure is NOT reckless disregard for the truth. Associated Press v. Walker (1967):
gertz v welch 197436
Established the principal that media must be guilty of something beyond a mere falsehood…there had to be a finding of “fault”Gertz v. Welch (1974):
remember39
Fault for public figure cases is to show reckless disregard for the truth or that the media published something they knew was untrue (New York Times Actual Malice) REMEMBER:
some famous libel cases
Cherry Sisters v. Des Moines Leader (1901)

Victory for the right to criticize public performers/performances

Some Famous Libel Cases:
some famous libel cases41
Carol Burnett v. National Inquirer (1983)

Called her “drunk and rude.” She was awarded $150,000

Some Famous Libel Cases:
some famous libel cases42
Gen. Westmoreland v. CBS (1984) Deceived the public about Viet Nam?

He sued for $120 million but settled for an apology from CBS ($18-million spent on legal fees)

Some Famous Libel Cases:
some famous libel cases43
Wayne Newton v. NBC (1990) Mafia ties?

He sued for $5.3 million. He won, but no damages were awarded as it was reversed on appeal.

Some Famous Libel Cases:
defenses against libel
Defenses against libel
  • Truth
  • Opinion
  • Privilege
  • Statutes of limitation
  • Consent
truth as a defense
Truth as a defense
  • Normally absolute
  • No time limitations
opinion as a defense
Opinion as a defense
  • Not provably false
  • Figurative language
  • Fair comment
ollman test
OLLMAN TEST
  • Can statement be proved true or false?
  • What is the common meaning of the words?
ollman test49
OLLMAN TEST
  • What is the journalistic context of the remark?
  • What is the social context of the remark?
privilege as a defense two types
Privilege as a defense: Two types
  • Absolute Privilege
  • Qualified Privilege
absolute privilege
Absolute Privilege:

protects:

  • Government Officials doing their jobs
  • Persons speaking in a legislative or judicial forum
qualified privilege
Qualified Privilege

Protects media when reporting information from a privileged proceeding (court hearing, official meeting, or official document)

slide53
BUT:

The Report must be fair and accurate to come under qualified privilege protection

statute of limitations as a defense in a libel suit
Statute of Limitations as a defense in a libel suit:

Usually one or two years…two years in Indiana, one year in Illinois and Kentucky

summary judgment
Summary Judgment:

Usually in favor of mass media defendants…

summary judgment56
Summary Judgment:

Unless the summary judgment is appealed and reversed…there is no trial

what happens
What happens

if you lose a libel suit?

if you lose the libel suit
If you lose the libel suit:
  • You may have to pay damages
know the kinds of damages
Know the kinds of damages:
  • Actual
  • Special
  • Presumed
  • Punitive
actual damages
Actual Damages:
  • Based on money loss, loss of reputation, pain and suffering, reputation damage etc.
special damages
Special Damages:
  • Usually sought in trade libel cases
presumed damages
Presumed Damages:
  • Usually sought in cases involving a public concern
punitive damages
Punitive Damages:
  • To punish defendants for their actions and to make an example out of them…often BIG BUCKS!
plaintiff cannot win libel suit if
Plaintiff cannot win libel suit if:
  • They gave consent to publication of libelous material
how to prevent getting sued for libel
How to prevent getting sued for libel:
  • Handle complaints properly
  • Retractions “may” help
  • Ombudsmen to “smooth things over”
general tips on how to prevent getting sued for libel
General tips on: How to prevent getting sued for libel:
  • Handle complaints properly
  • Retractions “may” help
  • Ombudsmen to “smooth things over”
5 goals of libel law
5 Goals of Libel Law:
  • Monetary damages for the plaintiff
  • Restoring reputation
  • Make for greater responsibility for speakers
5 goals of libel law68
5 Goals of Libel Law:
  • Punish defamatory speakers
  • To force media to seek the truth
specific tips on how to avoid libel suits
Specific tips on how to avoid Libel Suits
  • Check sources
  • Verify, even if subject is public figure or official
  • Understand criminal procedure and terminology
how to avoid libel suits
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Be cautious when editing
  • Watch for defamatory headlines or promos
how to avoid libel suits71
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Don’t use generic file footage or photos when reporting on an activity that might be questionable
how to avoid libel suits72
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Be cautious about defamatory statements made on the air or in letters to the editor
how to avoid libel suits73
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Be cautious about words connoting dishonest behavior or immorality
how to avoid libel suits74
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Don’t put anything in your notes that you would not want a court to see
how to avoid libel suits75
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Remember “allegedly” may not save you from a finding of libel
  • “She allegedly has AIDS” is legally the same as “She has AIDS.”
how to avoid libel suits76
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Watch how you use attribution.
  • “Police say they have arrested Joe Smith for arson.” (presumes guilt)
  • “Police have charged Joe Smith with arson.” (better)
how to avoid libel suits77
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Off the record attribution is dangerous in crime coverage.
  • Don’t take anyone’s word for it…check the written record
how to avoid libel suits78
How to avoid Libel Suits
  • Unofficial court documents lacking privilege can be a problem
  • Don’t let yourself be used. Some allegations are false. Report them when the suit is filed, not before.
if confronted by someone threatening a libel suit80
If confronted by someone threatening a libel suit:
  • Talk to supervisor or your attorney immediately and follow procedures established by your place of employment
the tort of defamation81

The tort of Defamation

Libel

Quick Review

libel occurs

Libel occurs:

When a false and defamatory statement about an identifiable person is published/broadcast to a third party, causing injury to the subject’s reputation.

civil libel plaintiff s burden of proof83
Civil libel:Plaintiff’s burden of proof:
  • Publication
  • Identification
  • Defamation
  • Fault/Falsity
publication
Publication:
  • Defamatory information is communicated by print or electronic media to someone other than the person defamed
publication85
Publication:
  • Internet service providers not responsible for libelous information unless they exercise editorial control over content.
identification86
Identification:
  • Defamatory material must be “of and concerning” the plaintiff or there is no case.
group identification87
Group Identification:
  • No magic number exists to protect media from claim of “identification”
group identification88
Group Identification:
  • Be especially careful with small groups because it is easier to prove “identification”
falsity89
Falsity:
  • “Small errors usually not actionable” unless…
falsity90
Falsity:
  • they directly relate to the loss of reputation (defamation).
falsity91
Falsity:
  • in other words, information must be substantially true…absolute accuracy not required
falsity92
Falsity:
  • Public figures and public officials must always prove “information was false”
falsity93
Falsity:
  • Private figures must prove “information was false” if information was “a matter of public concern”
falsity94
Falsity:
  • Media must prove information was TRUE with Private figures when information was “NOT a matter of public concern”
defamatory comment95
Harm to reputation must be proved by the plaintiff…sometimes a monetary loss is claimedDefamatory Comment
public persons include
Elected officials

Appointed officials who effect policy

Celebrities

Public persons include:
the person is not automatically a public figure
Just because they are well known

“Everybody around here knows farmer brown” does not make him a public figure

The person is not automatically a “Public figure”
defenses against libel106
Defenses against libel
  • Truth
  • Opinion
  • Privilege
  • Statutes of limitation
  • Consent
remember107
Remember:
  • Qualified privilege (if report is fair and accurate)
  • Consent (unless they are minors or wards of the state)
  • Fair Comment and Opinion (unless presented as fact and is false)
truth as a defense108
Truth as a defense
  • Normally absolute
  • No time limitations
privilege as a defense
Privilege as a defense
  • Absolute Privilege
  • Qualified Privilege
statute of limitations as a defense in a libel suit110
Statute of Limitations as a defense in a libel suit:

Usually one or two years…two years in Indiana, one year in Illinois and Kentucky

ad